The Ways


PC: Michael Raymond Smith

By Tommy Airey

Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.
John 20:25

In order to believe (Greek pistis), Thomas had to see and touch the brutal wounds inflicted by empire. Belief, for the first radical disciples, was far more than head knowledge. It was about what one pledged allegiance to, who one was willing to suffer and die for. Thomas wasn’t going down with some crazy-ass conspiracy theory about Jesus the tortured-and-crucified freedom fighter coming back from the dead.   Continue reading

The Friendly Fire Collective

May DayFrom fellow angelic troublemakers in the Philly area:

The following is a call for a gathering in Philadelphia, PA from May 1st to May 3rd.

Local Quakers and friendly mystics from around the so-called “United States” are gathering outside of so-called “Philadelphia,” from May 1-3rd for direct action, worship, collaboration, mysticism, and fellowship to stir-up an emerging revolutionary Christian/religious Left. We invite mystics and people of faith from all traditions who share our struggle “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world.” (Ephesians 6:12)

In the Spirit of International Workers’ Day, we will be participating in various direct actions which are currently being planned by our ever growing planning committee. The retreat fee will be a sliding scale of $45-95 and we will have scholarships available to ensure accessibility. If you would like to donate to allow poor, qpoc, and other marginalized people come to our event please email us.

For safety concerns we will not be discussing the location of our event until a few weeks out.

We are currently taking applications for the May Day retreat! Apply here!

For more information:

#RevolutionOfValues: A Week of Creative Action

RevolutionThe U.S. Department of Arts and Culture has no connection whatsoever to the government.  It is a people-powered department—a grassroots action network inciting creativity and social imagination to shape a culture of empathy, equity, and belonging.  The USDAC is  calling on artists, creative organizers, concerned citizens, and all community members to join together from April 2-8, 2018, to draw inspiration from and breathe new life into the prophetic words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., strengthening our commitment to speak truth to power and sparking creative action in the year ahead. Below are some ideas that the USDAC has provided to help spark the imagination.


“Radical” is a much maligned word: it comes from the Latin radix (root), and refers to anything that goes to the root of the matter, rather than tinkering with the leaves and branches. Many people have downplayed Dr. King’s deep spiritual and political radicalism, trying to whitewash his true views. Now it is more important than ever to use our creativity to nourish the roots of love and justice. Continue reading

Digging In

EucharistLast month, Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries hosted its annual Kinsler Institute in Southern California’s Ventura River Watershed (right). This year’s theme was “Digging In: Heels, Histories, Hearts,” an exploration of the roots of individual and collective stories and an examination of what it takes to recover from addictions and renew spirits for long term healing and movement building (all photos from Clancy Dunigan).

The reviews are sprouting forth, testifying to a mind-blowing and heart-expanding week.

From Grace Aheron, a poet, pastor and gardener living on 8 acres of land in an intentional community in the vicarage of a rural Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Continue reading

The Joke Is All We Have Left

Free the WaterBy Jim Perkinson (right), an excerpt from “Jesters, tricksters, taggers and haints: Hipping the church to the Afro-hop, pop-‘n-lock mock-up currently rocking apocalyptic Detroit,” a November 2017 article in Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies (HTS):

In many places today, the joke is all we have left to pry open the prison gate – a jest and a belly laugh rooted in the deep past and the abandoned margins. But its truth remains absolute, despite corporate pretention otherwise. We all finally will come apart at the seams and decay into streams of composting liquid and molecules – even US drones and bankers’ computer screens, blinking with algorithms. The only question is when and for what.

In recognition of such an eventuality of equality, may we choose well where to expend our breath and exercise our push back and dreaming otherwise. May we become soldiers of the unrepentant joke, militant laughers learning our hope from the least. May we keep our jest visceral and its spear-point like a razor, ready for whatever crack of freedom the Mystery of Wild Hilarity that created this planet may open. May we do so, even if that possibility is ephemeral and uphill as a spray-painted st and a stenciled demand on a tower and the political struggle to ‘free the ow’ that follows! Indeed, may we finally be strong like water and as insurgent as a tower growing from concrete!

The Subject of a Carceral State

SoniaFrom the conclusion of Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent in Utah, Petitioner v. Edward Joseph Strieff, Jr. (June 20, 2016):

This case involves a suspicionless stop, one in which the officer initiated this chain of events without justification.  As the Justice Department notes, supra, at 8, many innocent people are subjected to the humiliations of these unconstitutional searches.  The white defendant in this case shows that anyone’s dignity can be violated in this manner.  But it is no secret that people of color are disproportionate victims of this type of scrutiny.  For generations, black and brown parents have given their children “the talk”–instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger–all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them. Continue reading


Dietrich BonhoefferIf you are in the Philly area this weekend, check out this adventure in radical discipleship:

Saturday morning, February 17
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Project HOME, 1515 Fairmount Avenue

Bonhoeffer is a 93-minute documentary film that tells the dramatic story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the young German theologian who offered one of the first clear voices of resistance to the Nazi regime.  Bonhoeffer openly challenged the church to stand with the Jews, and eventually joined his family in a plot to kill Hitler. His books, Cost of Discipleship, Letters and Papers from Prison, and Ethics, have had an enormous influence on people of faith and conscience seeking to live with integrity in a world of evil and oppression.  We will view the film together and discuss its relevance to our life of faith and witness, with very particular emphasis on the current political realities under the Trump Administration and a world endangered by climate change, increasing wealth inequities, and violence.  Join us for this important time of reflection and discernment.  A light breakfast will be served.  A $10 donation is requested to cover costs (though if you can’t pay, please feel free to come anyway!).

See the Facebook posting here.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Will O’Brien 
at 215-842-1790 or by February 13.
For more information on The Alternative Seminary,